March 31 is César Chávez Day. To celebrate, the President of the United Farm Workers (UFW) Arturo S. Rodriguez, who is also the son-in-law of the late César E. Chávez, sent a letter to Education Examiner today announcing two major films premiering later this year.
Premiering in movie theaters across North America, will be a major motion picture about Chávez by director and producer Diego Luna.
A new full-length feature documentary about Chávez, whom many people refer to simply as César, will also be airing soon on PBS.
Last year, President Obama declared March 31 to be César Chávez Day, and said it should serve as an opportunity for Americans to “observe this day with appropriate service, community and education programs,” in honor of his legacy.
Chávez led the historic non-violent movement for farm worker rights and dedicated himself to building a movement of poor working people that extended beyond the fields and into cities and towns across the nation.
“César E. Chávez was,” in the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy’s words, “one of the heroic figures of our time.”
Here is the informative letter received by Education Examiner today:
‘Today, March 31, is César Chávez Day. It is also Easter Sunday. As I get ready to enjoy a day with my family I have to reflect on my remarkable father-in-law. April 23 marks 20 years since he passed. Yet his legacy and values continue to grow.
‘César would be so proud of the farm workers he spent his life championing and the gains they are achieving. Last year we signed first-time UFW contracts protecting 1,600 workers at four companies and renegotiated another six union contracts in the wine grape, mushroom, fruit, vegetable, rose and strawberry industries.
‘And we are working hard to help thousands more farm workers organize and win union contracts. Just this past weekend, I was able to march with thousands of workers in three of the seven marches the UFW held in key agricultural areas of California and Washington State. I was so proud to watch thousands of farm workers march to continue César’s vision of justice, dignity and respect in the fields.
‘César showed farm workers how to win against enormous odds, even if they were poor and uneducated. By helping them believe in themselves, he succeeded where so many others failed for 100 years to organize farm workers.’
‘The greatest monument to César Chávez is in the courage to work for change he inspired. César said if the movement did not survive his passing, then his work would be in vain. César would be proud of all the men, women and youth who have stepped up to help the UFW and the farm worker movement carry on his dream.
‘I’m sure you will be excited as I am to hear that later this year, premiering in movie theaters across North America, will be a major motion picture about César by director/producer Diego Luna. A full-length feature documentary about César will also be airing soon on PBS.
‘The world is a different place 20 years after César’s passing. If anything, the needs are even greater and the battles just as important in our own time and place.
‘We are grateful for the many commemorations for César. But this is not enough. To give true meaning to his life and work, we — you and I — must be directly involved in the issues that affect us and give life to his values by being of service to others.’
The César E. Chávez National Holiday Coalition is gathering signatures on petitions asking Congress to designate March 31, César’s birthday and the day the UFW was founded, as national César Chávez Day.
Chávez’s birthday is already celebrated as a holiday in ten states (AZ, CA, CO, IL, MI, NM, RI, TX, UT and WI). Their slogan is,
‘Si Se Puede!’ ‘(It can be done!)’
The UFW invites readers to download the petition and sign people up at César Chávez observances and other events. Click here to find a local César Chávez event.
UFW also invites readers to help to continue César’s vision. Say, “¡Feliz Cumpleaños César!” (“Happy Birthday, César!”) by sending an online memorial gift to the UFW here.
Find out more and follow UFW on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and e-mail the petition to others.